Sunday, November 18, 2007
Beowulf - review
"Heroes in pants and sexy demons with built in high heels..."
Dir. Robert Zemeckis
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
Are you the one they call Beowulf?
Such a strong man you are... a man like you could own the greatest tale ever sung, or erm, a flashy but hollow fantasy action 3D computer-generated movie…
I’m sure I don’t need to remind you of the opening text of the classic Old English poem, but in case you’re a little rusty it goes something like: ‘Quiet! Our story speaks of the Spear-Danes their greatest kings' accomplishments how in former times lived fearless men.’
That is pretty much the mantra that drives through this thoroughly modern reworking of the ancient tale. Robert ‘The Polar Express’ Zemeckis slaps and tickles the screen with lashing of bawdy T&A, some thumpingly nasty dragons, trolls (and their evil demon mother), plus not a little blood splattered violence.
Presented in newfangled digital three-dimensional footage, which renders real actors as weirdly waxy mannequins who look like they’ve borrowed their teeth and eyes from corpses. It takes a while to get accustomed to the jerky characterisations of Danish king Hrothgar (Anthony Hopkins), his slimy advisor Unferth (John Malkovich) and lovely queen Wealthow (Robin Wright Penn). Something is certainly rotten in the state of Denmark however and it goes by the name Grendel (Crispin Glover) – a monstrous troll with a taste for chomping on the local populace.
The King knows more about this creature than he is letting on but one thing everyone is agreed on, Denmark is in need of a hero to rid the land of their curse.
Step up Beowulf (the unlikely Ray ‘Sexy Beast’ Winstone), a lean mean fantasy creature fighting machine who has come to save the day. The one thing that this film delivers in style is man on monster smack down – there are two absolutely jaw dropping sequences that are worth the price of admission (plus if you pick the 3D version you’ll get a natty pair of specs which make you look like David Tennent’s Dr Who).
So why as a huge fan of this genre (300 is in my top ten films of the year) aren’t I whole-heartedly recommending Beowulf? Basically for all the action and the most pleasing digital rendition of Angelina Jolie’s female form, there is a childishly awkward artificial feeling to the whole proceedings. You can’t help but wonder how much cooler it all might have been if the makers had opted for a higher age certificate and really let loose with the battle and babe storyline. Remember “I am the ripper, the terror, the slasher. I am the teeth in the darkness! The talons in the night! My name is strength, and lust, and power! I AM BEOWULF!”
Class this as a ‘near miss’ attempt at being this year’s best rousing fantasy epic.
Out of 5 you have to go with a good in parts 3 (was hoping for more)...
Action öööö – spectacular in places
Laughs öö – some bawdy giggles
Horror ööö – fearsome beasties ahoy!
Babes öööö – Jolie is super yummy - and the 3D slow motion busty 'jiggle vision' is impressive
Overall ööö (worth it, but only just!)
"mediocre fantasy films also breed pain..."
Darkmatters: H O M E